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13 Jun 2005 : Column 21W—continued

Child Car Safety Seats

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what representations he has received regarding the safety standards for car safety seats for children; [3429]

(2) if he will take steps in the EU to tighten minimum safety standards for car safety seats for children. [3430]

Dr. Ladyman: There has been some recent media interest regarding the safety standards for car safety seats for children. This followed the publication by Which Magazine of a report criticising the performance of certain child restraint systems.

The Government are already looking at ways of raising the minimum safety standards for car safety seats for children by developing more rigorous seat testing involving side impact.

The UK has been heavily involved in the development of two test protocols specifically aimed at improving the performance of child seats during side impact. We expect the first of these protocols to be included in a wide ranging review of the European standards that is expected around March 2006. The second is a more demanding side impact protocol that is intended to rank performance for consumer information purposes and is also expected early next year.

Free Bus Travel

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his estimate is of the cost to local
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authorities of the introduction of free-fare schemes for people aged over 60 years and people who are disabled for local journeys by bus; and whether the cost to local authorities will be fully reimbursed by his Department. [3795]

Ms Buck: The Government will provide an extra £350 million in 2006–07 which will be sufficient to fund the cost to local authorities.

Lime Street Station

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has held concerning plans for major internal refurbishment of Lime Street station. [3516]

Derek Twigg: Network Rail advises that development of a scheme to enhance the interior of Liverpool Lime Street Station is underway. The current package of works includes the improvement of interchange facilities through the relocation of the taxi pick up point to the Skelhorne street side of the station together with the reconfiguration of the vehicular access and short stay car parking area. This work, costing £1.5 million to be funded by Merseytravel PTE, links into Liverpool's city centre movement strategy which will see a number of alterations to the highway network around the station. It will also free up space at the Lord Nelson street side of the station, allowing the development of improved passenger/retail facilities. This scheme is planned to be ready for Liverpool's tenure as European capital of culture in 2008.

I understand that Merseytravel and its partners have proposals to further enhance Lime street station as a true gateway to the city by relocating the ticket office and travel centre into Lime street chambers and resurfacing the concourse and platforms.


Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration his Department has given to issuing permits to operate lorries of 25.5 metres in length. [2379]

Dr. Ladyman: My Department has received two applications to trial vehicle trailer combinations that are longer than those currently permitted (18.75m). We are considering the issues surrounding their use in particular their manoeuvrability and the likely effect on other road users, especially those who are more vulnerable. We are also considering the logistical benefits that these vehicles may give the haulage industry, and the impact on road and rail freight movements.


Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many vehicles on average use the M6 between Stoke and Knutsford on each weekday in the last period for which figures are available. [2763]

Dr. Ladyman: The average number of vehicles using the M6 between junctions 15 and 19, on each weekday between 2002 and 2004, are provided in the table.
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Average 24 hour traffic volume

Junction 15 to 16N/B53,45554,10455,40659,59762,83751,56654,42355,96658,41362,263
Junction. 16 to 17N/B56,98360,72764,24665,91170,00857,34661,12562,79965,38570,787
Junction 17 to 18N/B59,67062,49565,01168,01972,04059,26062,82264,30667,21171,630
Junction 18 to 19N/B58,45761,00264,22466,54970,54259,07962,51464,02466,84171,106

Junction 15 to 16N/B55,79059,31460,79064,16466,441
Junction 16 to 17N/B61,92464,86165,92867,67371,873
Junction 17 to 18N/B60,27963,97865,26068,05271,221
Junction 18 to 19N/B60,88264,61465,39168,43871,458


Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of unlicensed minicabs operating in each English region. [2410]

Ms Buck: The law throughout England and Wales requires that all mini-cabs (formally termed private hire vehicles) and their drivers and operators must be licensed. Local licensing authorities and the police are responsible for enforcement. The Department has made no assessment of the extent of illegal operation.


Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to discourage illegal use of mini-motorbikes on (a) public roads and (b) public spaces; and if he will make a statement. [3323]

Dr. Ladyman: Powered vehicles (whether internal combustion or electric) are motor vehicles within the meaning of the Road Traffic Act 1988 as amended. Any powered vehicle used on the public highway must comply with all aspects of road traffic law, including construction requirements, registration, road tax, insurance etc. The rider/driver should hold an appropriate licence and, where required, wear a suitable helmet.

Enforcement is a matter for individual Chief Officers of Police. Powers under the Police Reform Act 2002
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allow a constable in uniform, after giving a warning, to stop and seize a motor vehicle if he/she has grounds for believing that it is being used in a careless and inconsiderate manner, or being driven illegally off-road, or being used (or is likely to be used) in an antisocial manner causing harassment, alarm or distress.

The Department has been advised that the packaging on powered toys such as miniature motorbikes generally includes a warning that the item is not for highway use. However it may be that, once such packaging is discarded, this is overlooked or ignored. We are therefore currently considering whether advice reminding purchasers and others of this issue might usefully be disseminated.

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